No Warning

An excellent, and bitter, review (registration required) in Friday’s Los Angeles Times about in-depth reporting from three separate news organizations — some as recent as last month — about the danger hurricanes posed to New Orleans and the lack of federal and local response to the widely understood hazards.

“These days, media criticism has become a kind of blood sport. One of its practitioners’ most frequently repeated complaints is that mainstream news organizations have become increasingly — if not solely — reactive, retailing the sensation of the moment to an audience hooked on titillating irrelevancies.

“Well, that didn’t happen here.

“Three years ago, New Orleans’ leading local newspaper, the Times-Picayune, National Public Radio’s signature nightly news program, ‘All Things Considered,’ and The New York Times each methodically and compellingly reported that the very existence of south Louisiana’s leading city was at risk and hundreds of thousands of lives imperiled by exactly the sequence of events that occurred this week. All three news organizations also made clear that the danger was growing because of a series of public policy decisions and failure to allocate government funds to alleviate the danger.”

The Times-Picayune has reposted its 2002 series on the hurricane threat.

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